Universal Studios Hollywood is set to welcome visitors back later this month as part of the slow reemergence of Southern California amusement parks.
Universal Studios will open to California residents only starting April 16, with tickets going on sale this coming Thursday. Capacity will be strictly limited under state regulations as the world continues to wrestle with the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are incredibly thrilled to finally be able to open Universal Studios Hollywood, return team members to work, and welcome guests back to enjoy our amazing rides,” President and Chief Operating Officer Karen Irwin said in a statement. “It has been a very challenging year, and we are overjoyed to have arrived at this moment.”
Universal’s opening is part of the growing list of Southern California parks opening their doors after more than a year. Magic Mountain in nearby Valencia is opening April 8, while Disneyland and California Adventure will welcome back guests on April 30. Knotts Berry Farm plans to re-open sometime in May, but an exact date has not been set. (Note that Knott’s Buena Park Grounds are open for the Taste of Boysenberry Festival, a food-oriented experience that requires advanced registration.)
When guests do return to Universal Studios, there will be one new attraction and changes to another fan favorite to welcome them back.
Guests will be transported to Katie’s New York apartment building for the new attraction The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash. The ride features 64 animated figures, media, and projection mapping to take visitors inside the pets’ world.
Characters including Snowball, Max, Gidget, Chloe, and Duke will do everything from blink their eyes and tilt their heads to smile, curl their lips, and even twist and walk.
The ride has taken the place of the former Globe Theater, an indoor venue that could accommodate more than 700 people. The Secret Life of Pets attraction was set to open last spring.
The popular Jurassic Park ride has a new ending, with a battle taking place between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and the newly installed Indominus Rex. The 55-foot dinosaur will lunge at passing guests during the battle before their boat descends a giant waterfall.
A new area of the park, Super Nintendo World, is still under construction with no opening date set. It will feature characters from popular Nintendo games including Pokemon, Super Mario Bros., and Donkey Kong.
Park officials expect most of its regular attractions to be open when Universal welcomes back guests, although health and safety protocols will keep some closed for the time being.
Other safety protocols include temperature checks for all guests before being admitted to the park and a mask requirement for everyone while inside the park unless they are eating or drinking. Food will be available but will only be allowed in designated dining areas.
Park officials have not said what the attendance limits will be. State regulations allow for different levels depending on the tier in which the county stands based on a variety of factors.
Reservations and online purchase of tickets will be mandatory, with no walkups allowed into the park.